What is quick quitting, and what you can do about it?

What is quick quitting and what you can do about it
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The Great Reshuffle has introduced us to terms like quiet quitting, quiet firing, and quiet hiring – but have you heard of quick quitting?

Quick quitting is the act of an employee leaving an organization after a short tenure rate of less than a year, sometimes exiting in only weeks.

A survey by Monster found that 57% of workers have “quick quit” before. The same survey found that 47% of workers think quick quitting is a red flag to future employers, but they’d do it anyway.[1]

Quick quitting could be caused by a lack of communication, a toxic company culture, or a simple lack of clarity.

_We need to tackle the underlying issues lurking behind this trend before “quick quitting” evolves into an out-of-control turnover rate that destabilizes your company._

In this blog, we discuss the concept of quick quitting, why so many workers are taking a quick exit, and how your HR department can prevent it.

What is quick quitting?

Quick quitting, meaning when an employee leaves an organization abruptly before spending even one year there, can happen within only weeks or even days of hiring.

The practice is also sometimes referred to as “fast quitting.”

You might think that this quick quitting trend isn’t as common as it is. According to a recent survey by Monster, during the Great Resignation, 54% of workers stayed at a job for less than half a year before quick quitting.[1] 

Quick quitting is yet another challenge that employers are facing amid The Great Reshuffle, as quick quitting gains popularity among other issues like quiet layoffs and quiet quitting.

Note that “quick quitting” is different from “quiet quitting.”

Quick quitting is when an employee quits their job in an unusually short time. Quiet quitting is when an employee does the bare minimum but remains in their position.

Both seriously impact an organization’s performance, although quick quitters exit the company entirely and quiet quitters stay but lose employee engagement and morale.

How is quick quitting impacting your organization?

How quick quitting could be impacting your organization

Fast quitting has a powerful effect on your company. Employees that immediately walk out the door have a detrimental impact on your costs, morale, and overall workload.

Here are a few ways that quick quitters hurt an organization:

  • Cost of hiring: Hiring a new employee can cost thousands of dollars in recruiter fees, training fees, and lost productivity – then imagine doing it all again. 

  • Abruptly empty positions: When a team just fills a role and it’s suddenly empty again, it causes pressure and confusion.

  • Extra work on existing staff: Related to the last point – quick quitting increases the workload of all current team members.

  • Worse customer experience: Employees that never fully learn the ropes are more likely to deliver worse professional services to your customers.

  • Revolving door culture is demotivating to remaining staff: It’s damaging to morale to have employees constantly coming and going, which can contribute to quiet quitting (or possibly increase quick quitting).

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the first point: the cost of this quick quitting trend.

Hiring a new employee can be an expensive process. Accounting for recruiter fees, training and onboarding, lost productivity, opportunity costs, and employee compensation, the price can get pretty steep.

The average cost-per-hire is $4,129, although for some positions the price can get as high as $240,000.

It also takes an average of 42 days to fill a role, and although it’s a trite saying, time is money.[2][3]

For more insights, read our blog post on the cost of a bad hire.

Why are employees quick quitting their jobs?

Let’s dig into why you’re seeing so many “Quick Quitting Gains Popularity” headlines lately.

Making a quick exit from a job isn’t brand new, but it’s certainly gaining more traction since The Great Reshuffle.

A recent study by Jobslist showed that 49% of workers expect the labor market to be affected by economic uncertainty in the next six months. Consequently, 60% of workers are pressed to get a new job before market conditions worsen.

Why employees are quick quitting their jobs

Here are a few reasons why quick quitting is getting more common:

Reason

Description

Inflation and rising costs of living

Due to rising costs, many employees quickly leave for a higher-paying opportunity.

Shifting priorities

Workers are prioritizing work-life balance and mental health over their careers, and jobs that cause distress and burnout aren’t worth it.

Looking for more flexibility in their work

Many employers are demanding workers come into the office after the pandemic and flexibility is non-negotiable for countless employees.

Far less stigma around short experiences

Stigma and judgment were big reasons that kept people in their places, even if they weren’t happy. Many people used to want to “quick quit” but stayed in a role because “you don’t just quit immediately.”

Less accepting of toxic work environment

A toxic corporate culture is one of the biggest underlying problems for modern HR, including quiet quitting and quiet firing.

Burnout

Overwork, burnout, and pressure can lead to depression and anxiety, and fewer Gen Z employees are going to stand for it nowadays.

Looking for value and a culture match with their employer

Often, employees cite that the job description or culture wasn’t “what it said on the tin.”

The most powerful reasons on the list are a demand for flexibility and a healthier company culture.

One survey showed that 81% of respondents say that flexible work policies would factor into their decision to stay at a job or leave it.

Another study, done by MIT Sloan, showed that the biggest driver of attrition is a toxic corporate culture, which contributed 10.4 times as much to attrition than compensation issues last year alone.

The issue of quick quitting and a toxic culture are especially impacting deskless workers.

A study by the Boston Consulting Group showed that 52% of deskless workers who had worked at a company for less than 12 months were looking for a new role.

The study also showed that 80% of the factors driving this motivation were emotional needs, not functional ones. Deskless workers want a healthier culture, where they’re treated fairly and respected.

Quick quitting is likely to slow down as job market conditions change, but it’s still a major signal that we aren’t creating safe places where people want to work.

Currently, we have situations where workers want to jump ship the first chance they get and employers should take quick quitting as their sign to improve work environments.

Examples of quick quitting

Let’s take a look at some examples of quick quitting. They will help you visualize what’s going on and what to look for in your company.

We have to start by mentioning the internet-famous story of Bill Murphy, who quit after just one day at his new job.

Bill says he had to leave because of the oppressive atmosphere and the terrible culture.

His first red flag came during orientation when everyone introduced themselves with how long they had until retirement:

“I’m Jane Smith. I have 11 years, four months, and 22 days until retirement…”

Bill says the written text doesn’t do justice to how depressing this felt. He says that everyone who worked at this company seemed resigned to the awful situation.

The environment was gloomy and every employee he met was either depressed, burnt out, or toxic.

Bill quit the next day at 7 am.

Think one day is impressive? Reddit user SparklesIB quit their new job after just four hours.

reddit screenshot

Their primary reasons for quitting were:

  • The job wasn’t what it claimed to be

  • It didn’t have role clarity

  • It had no clear direction

They arrived for their first day and no one was prepared for their arrival – despite insisting on the date. 

The role was a managerial position, but they never had anyone approach them or talk with them. They were simply given a catalog to match labels to (without any clear reason).

The few colleagues they met were snappy, unhelpful, and snobby.

It was only a few confusing hours before they couldn’t take it anymore and left. They contacted the recruiter who hired them and told them they wouldn’t be going back.

The recruiter was upset and so went to the company to see for themselves. 

The Reddit user eventually received a call from the recruiter, apologizing profusely because the company had been even worse to them.

These people weren’t “flaky” or “fickle.” Both examples here are workers who couldn’t endure a toxic, negative culture and knew from day one what it would do to them if they stayed.

But we can fix that. Let’s take a look at how we can build a better workplace and reduce quick quitting.

The top 7 ways to reduce fast quitting in your organization

The top 7 ways of reducing fast quitting in your organization

We don’t just have to accept that our employees are walking out the door. There are ways to improve company culture and halt quick quitting in its tracks.

Let’s take a closer look at these strategies.

Summary

Strategy

Description

Adopt skills-based hiring to ensure candidates have the skills to succeed

Evaluating a candidate’s skills enables them to confidently start their new job with relevant skills

Build a cohesive company culture (and hire for it)

Hiring candidates for their personality and culture add helps you build a strong, healthy company culture

Create a safe, inclusive work environment

Working towards a safe, supportive workplace for all employees improves your atmosphere and culture

Offer more flexibility in terms of hours and location

Adopting a flexible work policy helps you attract employees that desire flexible work and employees that

need

flexible work

Write accurate, realistic job descriptions

Describing your role’s responsibilities and skills in-depth helps create clarity for the candidate before they’re hired

Implement a better, more supportive onboarding process

Building a more thorough, supportive onboarding process gives new hires a great experience from day one

Start planning your new employees’ careers early on

Identifying areas of improvement with skills tests enables you to build career plans for new employees right off the bat

1. Adopt skills-based hiring to ensure candidates have the skills to succeed

Adopting skills-based hiring helps hiring managers ensure that candidates have the skills they need to succeed in their roles.

Skills-based hiring objectively evaluates skills in real time using skills tests, so a candidate’s talent is proven before day one.

Two major reasons for quick quitting are:

  • Not being prepared for the role

  • Burnout and exhaustion

Assessing an employee’s capabilities with skills tests ensures that they can tackle their responsibilities.

Skills-based hiring ensures they hit the ground running, rather than running out the door.

Let’s look at a few skills tests for a marketing role:

  • Branding Strategy test

  • Market Analysis test

  • Communication test

  • Critical Thinking test

These tests and many more can be found in our test library.

These tests enable you to objectively assess a marketer’s talent for branding strategy and communication, rather than matching them to a role strictly from their resume.

That way, you can be assured that they have what it takes to get the job done.

2. Build a cohesive company culture (and hire for it!)

A cohesive company culture is when everyone in the organization shares a set of values, goals, and attitudes.

A healthy, cohesive culture is important for every organization, but it’s essential for remote and hybrid workplaces.

You can create this type of culture by hiring for it. Assess culture and personality to ensure a candidate aligns with your organization’s values.

Personality and culture tests help make sure that a candidate makes a great addition to your company. Here are a few of ours:

  • Enneagram test

  • Big 5 test

  • DISC test

  • 16 Types test

All of these tests are available TestGorilla’s free package.

Another vital test for building a better culture: our Culture Add test.

Here at TestGorilla, we believe in “culture add” above “culture fit.” Culture fit, although more commonly mentioned, is the practice of perfectly “fitting” a candidate into a company.

Culture add is when you find a candidate with similar, but diverse, values and add them to your company. This approach promotes an inclusive, diverse workplace

A diverse workplace leads to our next important point.

3. Create a safe, inclusive work environment

An inclusive work environment is a crucial element for creating a positive company culture that prevents countless employees from walking out the door.

This means prioritizing diversity and inclusion, including neurodiversity and other unseen disabilities that could lead employees to quit once they realize this is a toxic workplace that doesn’t support them.

Here are a few ways to promote a more inclusive work environment:

  • Offer necessary accommodations to workers

  • Ask workers where they need support and provide it wherever possible

  • Work towards disability inclusion in the workplace

  • Work towards a trauma-informed workplace

It’s also important to encourage solid communication and feedback. Transparency and a psychologically safe workplace are crucial in creating a positive work environment.

A safe environment means prioritizing good feedback, too. A culture of recognition is essential for a healthy atmosphere – studies show that it’s the top driver of hard work.

Encourage recognition from managers, but don’t forget to promote peer-to-peer recognition.

Positive appreciation from both superiors and peers makes new employees feel welcome and valued in their new positions.

4. Offer more flexibility in terms of hours and location

Adopting a good flexible work policy is essential to reducing turnover and having happier employees.

Flexibility is becoming more than a “nice-to-have” and thousands of workers need it. People like working parents, those with alternative lifestyles, and students need work flexibility if you want to keep them on staff.

One survey showed that 55% of workers are somewhat likely to leave their jobs if they lacked control over scheduling.

Here are a few suggestions for flexible work:

Flexible hours and location don’t just benefit the employees.

Flexible work enables employees to work when they’re at their most productive and energetic, which improves their performance and engagement.

Plus, there are some job seekers you can’t reach if flexible work isn’t on offer. If working parents and students can’t work around their other responsibilities, they’ll search for new opportunities.

5. Write accurate, realistic job descriptions

A huge cause of quick quitting is a job being “different than advertised,” so clear job descriptions ensure you’re advertising exactly what you’re offering.

You should buckle down to create accurate and realistic job descriptions.

Candidates only spend an average of 25.9 seconds reading a job description, so it needs to be clear and succinct.

Here are a few tips:

  • Carry out a job analysis: Determine the skills and responsibilities of a role, considering the usual necessary competencies.

  • Carry out an employee-oriented analysis: Reach out to employees in a similar role and ask them about their responsibilities and the skills they need to get their work done.

  • Use a competency library: A competency library is a collection of competencies related to your company and industry. It usually contains role-specific skills and behaviors.

Afterward, use the information to list the main responsibilities, duties, and skills of the role.

Ensure to separate the skills required from day one and the skills that the candidate can learn on the job.

It’s also important to remember to regularly update the job description to include changes caused by technological developments and other external factors.

For our whole guide on the subject, check out our article on job descriptions that speak to a skills-based hiring approach.

6. Implement a better, more supportive onboarding process

Offer and commit to a better, more supportive onboarding process.

Onboarding is one of the first impressions candidates get from your organization, so it’s imperative to get it right.

Remember our example above from Reddit user SparklesIB? They had an abysmal onboarding experience and “quick quit” in only four hours.

Here are a few tips for a solid onboarding process:

  • Offer a great onboarding package

  • Pair new hires with a “buddy” that they can direct questions to

  • Ensure they get training on new software

  • Keep in contact with the new hire’s manager to ensure they’re arranging the right tasks

  • Give the employee an overview of the company, including details about the structure of your departments

  • A great onboarding program can increase retention by 25% – and you can see why. 

When an employee is welcomed by a company that has organized practices and a clear process, it gives them a strong signal that they picked the right place to work.

7. Start planning your new employees’ careers early on

Start planning your new employees’ careers early on – show them they have a future and space to grow and develop at your company.

Growth is incredibly important to employees and every role is looking for forward progression. Skills-based hiring facilitates and promotes professional growth.

When you review a candidate’s skills assessment results, it not only tells you what they aced, but it also tells you where they need development.

With traditional methods, you had to discover a new hire’s weaknesses through trial and error.

Hiring candidates with skills tests helps you discover areas of improvement so you can start developing a growth plan from day one.

With this information, help your employee build a professional development plan listing their career goals and the top strategies they can use to achieve them.

For an in-depth guide, read our blog post on how to build a professional development plan.

Adopt skills-based hiring to stop quick quitting in its tracks

Quick quitting is an intimidating concept and, if left unchecked, could cause serious damage to your company. But there’s so much HR can do to stop it and create a better workplace.

The most impactful way to stop quick quitting (and other negative HR trends) is to work towards a safer, more inclusive culture. The best way to do that is by adopting skills-based practices.

Skills-based hiring helps you focus on a candidate’s skills, verify them before day one, and hire for personality.

For more information on engaging your workforce and creating a more positive environment, check out our blog posts on employee burnout and fun ways to boost morale at work.

To assess if your next candidate’s job motivations align with your offer, try our Motivation test.

Sources

1. “Poll Results: Quick Quitting”. (December, 2022). Monster. Retrieved March 7, 2023. https://learnmore.monster.com/poll-results-quick-quitting 

2. “2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report”. (November, 2016). SHRM. Retrieved March 7, 2023. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/2016-Human-Capital-Report.pdf

3. Frye, Lisa. (May 9, 2017). “The Cost of a Bad Hire Can Be Astronomical”. SHRM. Retrieved March 7, 2023.

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